| Share
 

chicle

chicle (chĭkˈəl) [key], name for the gum obtained from the latex of the sapodilla tree ( Manilkara zapota ), a tropical American evergreen. The sapodilla (known also by many other common names) is widely cultivated in tropical regions, including S Florida, for its fruit, which is plum-sized with translucent yellow-brown flesh. Large-scale cultivation of the tree for latex is impractical because it can be tapped only infrequently and varies widely in yield. Chicle is collected during the rainy season from wild trees in the rain forests. Natives, called chicleros, cut zigzag gashes in the tree trunk and collect the sap in bags. The collected material is boiled until it reaches the correct thickness and is then molded into blocks. These are exported, chiefly to the United States, for use in making chewing gum. Unsystematic and excessive tapping of the sapodilla (especially in the Yucatán peninsula, where it was most abundant) is leading to its depletion and has necessitated increasing use of chicle substitutes from other latex-producing plants.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

More on chicle from Infoplease:

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Organic Chemistry


Premium Partner Content
HighBeam Research
Documents Images and Maps Reference
(from Newspapers, Magazines, Journals, Newswires, Transcripts and Books)

Research our extensive archive of more than 80 million articles from 6,500 publications.

Additional search results provided by HighBeam Research, LLC. © Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.

24 X 7

Private Tutor

Click Here for Details
24 x 7 Tutor Availability
Unlimited Online Tutoring
1-on-1 Tutoring